Sword Art Online is a popularly acclaimed modern action-anime based around virtual reality. It’s proven inspiring enough for one fan to create an Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra prototype which allows players to dodge and block bullets while firing a pistol, much like the ‘gameplay’ depicted in the show.
Sword Art Online is in its second season. The first season had characters donning virtual reality headsets and entering a game of the same name, largely based around swordfighting, and later into a game called Alfheim Online which was more magic-based. The second season of the anime has the main character, who goes by the online alias Kirito, playing a gun-based game called Gun Gale Online.
Although GGO is mostly gun-based, Kirito longs for a sword, the weapon he used most in the prior two games. Accordingly, he adapts a rare weapon combination of a pistol and a lightsaber, and develops a technique to block incoming bullets with his sword by reading the ‘prediction lines’ that tell players in the fictional game where bullets will be fired.
A fan has taken this concept and turned it into a real gameplay prototype using the Oculus Rift VR headset and the Razer Hydra motion controller. The prototype’s graphics are crude, but the gameplay is already looking like a lot of fun, allowing players to shoot from a pistol with one hand and block bullets using their lightsaber. Players can even lean out of the way to dodge bullets, thanks to the Oculus Rift DK2’s positional tracking capability. The developer has also replicated some of GGO’s interface.
Interestingly, this prototype is like a combination of two demos that Sixense, makers of the Razer Hydra and forthcoming STEM motion controllers, has released. One allowing the player to fire a pistol and the other allowing players to deflect lasers using a lightsaber.
It isn’t clear if the developer will continue to develop the Sword Art Online prototype into a full game; we’ve reached out for comment.
Back in July at Anime Expo 2014 in Los Angeles, Oculus showed off an official Sword Art Online VR demo that was produced by Bandai Namco who has worked on multiple games based on the anime.
The short demo put players in the shoes of the show’s main character and showed a few different environments from the first season of the series. Unfortunately for fans of the show, it seems like the demo was an ‘experiential’ property, rather than part of a game proper.
Sword Art Online is but a recent entry into the world of anime with themes of virtual reality, including the acclaimed .hack series and others such as Accel World, Log Horizon, Btooom!, and Ixion Saga DT.